E100: 077 | God's Heart

"Today’s reading in Acts chapter 13 verse 1 to chapter 14 verse 28 covers the first missionary journey of Paul and Barnabas. After God anointed them, and their church sent them out, to preach the Good news of Jesus Christ. They routinely encountered resistance and even escaped death as God led them on their journey." (New Zealand's Rhema Radio)

Read Acts 13:1-14:28 | (ESV)

In the Synagogue at Pisidian Antioch Paul is invited to share some encouraging words. He starts his message by reviewing Israel's history to give context to his ultimate message about Jesus. He says the following:
After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: 'I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.'
I have always been caught by these words of God about King David. "A man after my own heart." What does it mean to be a person who is after God's heart? Perhaps it means thinking and acting like God. Caring like God? Holy like God? Really it all seams impossible to me, but it is my desire. As much as possible I want my thoughts and actions to be consistent with God's. But how? How do I accomplish this?

Jesus modeled God's heart perfectly while he lived on earth. The best answer I have is to follow after Jesus.

Turning this thought around a little what does my heart look like to God. When we read about God directing Samuel in selecting a King for Israel we get a glimpse of what is important to God.
But the Lord said to Samuel, "Do not consider how handsome or tall he is. I have not chosen him. I do not look at the things people look at. Man looks at how someone appears on the outside. But I look at what is in the heart." (I Samuel 16:7)
Neil Brown of Sydney, Australia, asks the question on his blog "When He looked at David's heart, what did the LORD see?" After reading some of David's Pslams Neil notices that "two things stand out very clearly: Dependence and Worship."

For dependence he points to Psalms 23 and 143. For Worship he points to Psalms 13, 63, and 145.

Here is more of what Neil Brown wrote in his blog.
"While there was probably much more that God saw in David's heart when he looked, and while in all honestly, God doubtless saw a number of things that he might have wished had not been there, it seems likely that these were two things that God saw were very strong in David's heart, were very pleasing to himself, and were sufficient for him to say "Rise and anoint him; he is the one" the next King of Israel.

... So, we have "dependence" and "worship" as two things that God clearly desires. How can we use this in our lives? How does this knowledge guide us today?

I think the answer is simply that we should look to cultivate these characteristics in our hearts whenever the opportunity arises.

We should not condemn ourselves if we think our dependence or our worship isn't what it should be, and nor should we congratulate ourselves if we do see evidence of a truly dependent and worshipful heart. But rather we need to be alert to how we respond, how we act in different situations. When we see that God has allowed a little dependence or worship to grow, we should encourage it and consciously act in that direction even more than we feel.

And when we see in ourselves behaviours that seem to show a dependence on self, or a worship of things rather than of than God, we should turn our backs and make a conscious effort to give God the honour and the glory.

God may not want to use these attributes in us to make us a King of some nation like he did with David. But as Peter tells us in his first letter, we are a chosen people, and a royal priesthood. God does have a purpose for each of our lives, and he can work out that purpose more effectively if we co-operate in growing those attitude that he longs to see. If we endeavour to be, as Paul says of David in Acts 13:22: A person after God's own heart, who will do everything Gods wants you to do."
Now back to Paul's message before the synagogue as recorded in Acts 13. After pointing out that King David was a man after God's own heart Paul reminds everyone that King David is dead and his body decaying in the grave (Acts 13:36.) Paul goes on to point to Jesus as the promised Savior who God brought back to life so his body will never see decay (Acts 13:37.)

King David, a man after God's own heart, was also a man with failures. When we look at Jesus we see a man after God's own heart. But a man with no failures and no sin. A man willing to do anything God desires. Actually, when we see Jesus, we see the very heart of God.

I am working through the E100 Bible Reading Challenge again. You can learn more about my journey and read the other posts completed so far at this link. I encourage you to stop back soon to read another passage.

Please share your own thoughts on this passage in the comment section below or on the Facebook page.

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